We have had a great start here in Addis Ababa. Our first accomplishment was getting through customs with 100+ pounds of prototyping materials and tools. After answering a lot of questions, showing the customs agents our student IDs, and giving them a run-through of how the pepper eater works, we were allowed to leave the airport with all of our stuff.
Since we arrived at the IDE/Practica guesthouse on Thursday afternoon, everyone has been very excited about the Pepper Eater! We began assembling our 10 prototypes a few hours after we arrived. The technicians that work at the guesthouse, Abreham Berhe, Abebe Mekonen, and Semunigus Zewide, were all eager to help us build.
After the first few prototypes were assembled, Abreham already spotted room for improvement. He started fabricating a hopper so that peppers didn’t have to be fed into the grinder one at a time.
By this (Friday) morning, we had all 10 prototypes assembled, and started meeting some contacts in Addis who were interested in seeing the pepper eater. We also conducted our first user testing with some neighbors of the guesthouse. We spotted them drying processed peppers, so we took the opportunity to walk next door and show them our prototype. They seemed excited to try out the device, although they told us the peppers we brought them were too wet. When they compared them to their batch of processed peppers, there was very little difference, and they said the quality was good. They also had some feature requests, such as adding a handle and a hopper.
It’s been a great start to our trip, with lots of positive feedback from everyone we have met. We plan to head down to Ziway on Sunday to find more users to test the Pepper Eater, and to start meeting with potential partners.